As a pre-med student at the University of Miami, Jarrod Matthei probably thought that his friend Lionel Moise would be graduating alongside of him with a medical degree. But Moise’s love for the newsroom outshined his love for the examination room. “He realized that was not his passion,” says the now-MD of his friend’s initial pre-med career choice. “And he pursued broadcast journalism, with some push back from his family. Good thing he followed his intuition because look where he is now!”
Where he is now! Lionel Moise is the morning anchor at CBS Chicago, the #3 news market in the nation. Not bad for someone who started out as a mere intern at NBC’s Miami affiliate WTVJ six years ago. A dedicated member of the National Association of Black Journalists, Moise is also a skilled entrepreneur, having founded the startup Sock Concierge. Moise has won two Emmys for his work at WXIA-TV in Atlanta—the station where he worked as a reporter, before moving on to WLTX News 19 in South Carolina.
“I have seen many if not most of his broadcasts, especially many of his tapes throughout college,” says Dr. Matthei, MD of his friend. “I fondly remember him preparing tapes his senior year of college in order to send to potential employers. He has truly come a long way and is on his way to perfect his craft. I am extremely proud of him and excited for what the future holds.
And now, let’s hear from the man himself!
Kreyolicious: How did you get interested in broadcasting?
I kind of fell into it, but immediately fell in love! From a child, I always wanted to be a doctor—or at least I thought because I loved helping people. I quickly learned that all of the blood, guts, and gory things doctors deal with—just weren’t for me. Junior year- while trying to figure out my goals and career path—I shadowed a friend who was a reporter on campus. I immediately fell in love with being able to highlight things going on in the community, while getting to interact with so many different people each day. I changed my major to Broadcast Journalism and never looked back.
Above: Lionel Moise and some of his CBS Chicago colleagues attend the MLK Scholarship breakfast.
Kreyolicious: How instrumental do you think internships were to your career? And what did you do to stand out from other interns?
Internships were pivotal for me—especially in this field. They gave an insurmountable amount of training and also exposure to the day to day of news. I was able to work hand in hand with some of the best in the business while learning as much as I could from them. I think what really made me stand out- was being genuine and open to learning. That allowed me to form relationships and get mentors who still give guidance on my career years later.
Kreyolicious: Are there any broadcasters you admire?
I admire one of my close friends/mentors DeMarco Morgan—who works for CBS network. Not only has he achieved great success in his career—but he immediately invested in mine and a lot of the younger broadcasters coming up behind him. He pushed me and challenged me to reach heights that I didn’t even see as a possibility for myself at the time. And in all of his coverage—he is always himself. Not playing news anchor on TV—but really there with the viewers as he covers the stories. His comfort and truly being natural on air is something I’ve come to appreciate when I’m watching. It’s something I hope my viewers also get—the real me.
The Anchor as a young man.
Kreyolicious: Your career has been milestone after milestone. What would you say to those out there who feel like they’re in some kind of professional rut…the ones who thought they’d be so much further in their lives than they are now?
I have been very blessed to have been given the opportunities I have. Working in Chicago, for such a legendary company with amazing journalists is a dream come true. But my career has not always been a dream. I have had plenty of frustration as I figured—and still try to figure out—what I want for myself long-term. I also dealt with the uncertainty of beginning a career that I knew nothing about. It’s not like my parents were journalists or news anchors to offer the calming advice during times of freaking out! The one piece of advice that I always give to people feeling weary is: “Never accept no for an answer.” Plenty of doors will close in your face, any plenty of rejection. With tenacity and perseverance—you can always find a way to open another door to get a yes. Sometimes you have to create that door. My career has been somewhat of a surprise to even me—when I really focused on growing and achieving as opposed to the roadblocks in my way.
[All photos courtesy of subject.]
Be sure to look out for PART 2 of this interview with Lionel Moise. Meanwhile…